“IF” is the most commonly used word among average golfers.
“If only that putt went in.”
“If only that ball had stayed out of the bunker.”
“If I had just putted decent.”
You hear the word every day at every golf course in the world.
On Sunday after a flat final round at The Memorial, we heard it from Tiger Woods.
“If I just putt normally, I’m probably there with those guys in the last couple groups,” said the 14-time major champion.
“IF?” You can’t be serious, Tiger.
If you hadn’t putted like a manic for most of your career, you wouldn’t have 14 majors.
If is a word that typically follows failure and Woods experienced putter failure over the final nine Sunday and that translated to three bogeys and a 38 coming home on a golf course he dominated in his prime.
The key words being “in his prime.”
This comeback version of Tiger Woods has been good and bad, off and on and the putter was supposed to be the least of his worries, yet that hasn’t been the case.
Woods began Sunday in a tie for seventh, within shouting distance of the lead, just five back. But today’s players pay little if any attention to his presence. The field went blowing by him, there were plenty of low scores to be had.
All the big names jumped into the top eight — Rickie Fowler (68), Rory McIlroy (69), Justin Thomas (68), Dustin Johnson (67). Colonial winner Justin Rose shot 70 and tied for sixth.
Woods fell all the way to a tie for 23rd. He might take notice that 19-year-old Joaquin Neimann tied for sixth, best showing ever by a 19-year-old at this event.
“I had some chances to shoot some good rounds this week,” Woods concluded. “Overall my game is where it needs to be heading into the U.S. Open, which is positive.”
What Woods positively must do is forget about “if” and figure out what happened to his putting stroke.